torpedo1

Goals of the torpedo style launch:

  • To get the upper torso in front of your legs so that they can better power and accelerate the body during the running portion of a launch.
  • To have the brakes in a position that will allow no pull during the launch run. With the upper body leaning radically forward, it becomes extremely difficult to keep the brakes near the pulleys with the standard (arms up and above/near the head) position. In the torpedo, the arm position is much better.
  • To keep the body as close to the ground to allow running as long as possible during the launch acceleration.

Back in the early days of paragliding (late 80s to early/mid 90s) there was no such thing as a torpedo launch. For forward launches most pilots launched with their A risers in front of the shoulders and just leaned into them as the wing ascended. Following this, the pilots would run down the hill with a slight forward lean to the body, keeping the brakes as high as possible. Following a reverse inflation and turn transition (the turn from facing the wing to forward), the run and position was identical.

Running without a torpedo has tradeoffs. It is hard to lean forward and keep the brakes up all the way.
Without the lean, there is not as much power to accelerate.

Goals of the torpedo style launches:

  • To get the upper torso in front of your legs so that they can better power and accelerate the body during the running portion of a launch.
  • To have the brakes in a position that will allow no pull during the launch run. With the upper body leaning radically forward, it becomes extremely difficult to keep the brakes near the pulleys in the standard (arms up and above/near the head) position. In the torpedo, the arm position is much better.
  • To keep the body as close to the ground as possible to allow running as long as possible during the launch acceleration.

Back in the early days of paragliding (late 80s to early/mid 90s), there was no such thing as a torpedo launch. For forward launches, most pilots launched with their A-risers in front of their shoulders and just leaned into them as the wing ascended. Following this, the pilots would run down the hill with a slight forward lean, keeping the brakes as high as possible. Following a reverse inflation and turn transition (the turn from facing the wing to forward), the run and position were identical.

Running without a torpedo has trade-offs.
It is hard to lean forward and keep the brakes up all the way.
Without the lean, there is not as much power to accelerate.

torpedo2
Photo Credit to Andy Stocker

After a forward inflation or turn transition in a running reverse launch, prior to dropping into the torpedo, make sure that the wing is not off to the side and is pitch stable. You can continue to steer and make minor adjustments in the torpedo, but it is better to make primary adjustments prior to dropping into the full torpedo position.

When you are ready to drop into the torpedo, transition your arms from a standard flying position to being above and behind your back. To do this, keep your hands up and roll your elbows out as you bend your torso forward. (Prior to transition, see Picture A. After transition, see Pictures C and D).

Note in the below photo:
Accentuated Forward Bend, Hands – Up and Back, Body Low to Ground…torpedo3

To get the full benefits of a torpedo, you have to bend fully forward at the waist. Yes, this position is a bit uncomfortable, but you get used to it. The goal is to fully load the glider and hang your upper torso on the waist belt of the harness. This helps to keep your center of gravity closer to the ground, compared to running in a standard upright fashion. In the torpedo position, the wing will not be able to lift you away from the ground until you have reached the correct airspeed. In addition, the arms will be in the proper position to maintain the light touch that enables your senses to feel where and how much tension is on the brakes.

The hand position can be done different ways in a torpedo. I prefer to turn my hands so that the fingers hold the brake toggles up, allowing the easiest access to getting the hands higher. I have also found that in this position, I can bend my elbows slightly to help this. It is also possible to just have the brakes in the palms of the hand with the knuckles up and still be able to release the brakes all the way up to trim (See Bottom Photo). Not everyone can do either position, so finding what works for you will require some practice.

Note that the fingers are up in this photo. To get the brakes up even further,
you can grab the bottom of the brake toggles with the tips of the fingers.

torpedo4
 
 

At the end of the launch, until you are well clear of terrain, you should stay in the torpedo position. If you come back down a little, you will have your legs ready to resume running and still have the power of the torpedo.

Once in the air, following a torpedo launch, remain in the torpedo.
You will be ready to run again should you come back down slightly.torpedo5

The reason the torpedo functions so well is quite simple. Basic physics dictates that to push a mass, you must have leverage to do so. Having the upper body in front of the legs is how we achieve this with the torpedo. Picture holding  a bowling ball above your head while trying to accelerate. This demonstrates the need to have leverage to move a mass.

The torpedo also works when trying to get to the cliff edge when it is windy. Pilots who do not use the torpedo at a cliff launch in windy conditions will frequently have difficulty moving forward toward the cliff edge. In the upright position, they have little weight on their feet and there is no power in their legs to move them forward. When you have learned the torpedo and are in this situation, you can simply move into the torpedo position and will find moving forward is much easier. Needless-to-say, it is recommended to work on the position and technique at a location further from a cliff edge.

Other benefits of the torpedo are built-in. With added power and the ability to generate speed, comes the energy to correct the wing from gusts. The extra speed results in higher pressure, energy, and stability from the wing, and this will get you away from the ground quicker and with more safety. Make sure you do not lean forward, just bend at the waist and hang your weight on the waist belt for power.

Now, watch the below video and you will get some visual training:

Results

Yeah, you passed the Launching Quiz

Aborts are good, try again.

#1. If you feel the wing begin to fall back during a launch and then accelerate to help it come back overhead, what might a consequence be?

#2. The advantages of the torpedo position during a launch include

#3. Staying in the torpedo when leaving the hill is important because

#4. Being able to keep the brakes up during launches is important because

#5. If we say gust factor is less than 5 MPH over 5 Seconds, it means – ? For example: On a day when the wind is about 10 avg, if it is blowing 8 MPH and a gust hits and it blows 13 MPH max during the 5 seconds, this woud be within the range.

Try Again

#6. What are the benefits of a Torpedo launch?

#7. What are the cons of an A and Brake launch?

A/C has the best kill switch and also helps reduce the burst of lift during the check.

#8. Which below statement generally describes launching methods? ? Get good at as many launches as possible. Situational launch methods can be the best way.

Finish